Students Share Experiences With Confusing New Mobile Ticket Procedures

Before Penn State football opened its season against Idaho last weekend, students got their first taste of a ticketing procedure involving mobile tickets. The new procedure, which involves a winding roadmap of steps to follow, was met with mixed reviews. Some said the lines dragged on, while others reported breezing through to the turnstiles and into Beaver Stadium.

Earlier this week, we asked you to share your experiences at Gate A during the first game with mobile student tickets. Your colorful accounts of resistance to change, temperamental technology, and frustrated ticketers encompassed plenty of emotions and did not disappoint. Words to describe the lines to get in range from “chaos” and “terrible” to “iffy at best” and “easy.”

We found that surprisingly, students seemed to take the change pretty well for the most part. In a survey published on Onward State earlier this week and taken by 43 respondents, 54.2% reported feeling as if Athletics had adequately informed them about the changes. Additionally, 80.5% said they had been able to download tickets to their mobile wallets, one of the toughest challenges with the new system.

Given the backlash the process has gotten, it’s surprising how many not only felt informed but were able to successfully follow directions.

To give you an idea about how experiences varied from line to line and as the day went on, here are the highlights of what you shared about your feelings and reactions to the new mobile ticketing processes.

Tyler Zaremba, Sophomore

It went well. As for the system, it can be something good, but in its current state, it needs a ton of polish before I can say it’s effective. The difficulties I experienced were that the app just flat out doesn’t want to work — whether it be deciding not to show me my tickets, freezing up, or logging me out.

I use a Google Pixel 2, and when it came time to scan, where the barcode appears on my screen almost doesn’t fit under the scanner, so it took me around a minute and a half before I could get the scanner to read the barcode.

Jason, Senior

It was quick, but only because I think the guy at the gate was fed up with dealing with thousands of drunk kids. About 10 minutes before heading toward the gate, I found out there were a whole bunch of preliminary steps you need to take to get your tickets ready to be scanned. Besides having the Athletics app, I had none of this setup.

When it was my turn to show my ticket, I showed the usher my phone (80% sure I was in the wrong place, but it didn’t matter because nothing would load). Immediately I could tell he was pissed. It was probably the 300th time this had happened. He just handed me a ticket and told me to move along.

Marley O’Brien, Senior

It went pretty smoothly for me. I had the ticket downloaded to my Apple Wallet and still was able to have enough service to open it on the Athletics app before I got in line. I think the biggest problem was that students didn’t come prepared and had to download the app at Gate A or didn’t address the problems they had the week leading up to the game.

Seth C., Senior

It was fine if people had their tickets actually saved on to their phones. Three people ahead of me and my friends didn’t have their tickets on their phones, so they had to log in to their accounts and get them their tickets.

Also, the attendant said we couldn’t hold our iPhones near the reader and scan the barcode even though it worked. The attendant didn’t see the phone say “Good Scan,” so we had to plead with him that it scanned to let us in.

Hopefully, Penn State informs staff that tickets can be scanned and figure out a way to make sure students actually have tickets. Maybe have people checking IDs also see tickets. Otherwise, I think once they figure that part out, it should be a smooth process.

Josh Peters, Junior

It was about the same as other years, but I don’t know why they went digital. There weren’t any issues with just using your ID to swipe in. Also, Penn State should bring back the ticket exchange so students can buy/sell tickets and not be forced to just “transfer” tickets. It was also unnecessary to have to scan the barcode for our ticket and then have to present our IDs.

Taylor, Junior

There was a large crowd trying to get into the section I got, and they were trying to check tickets, but the ushers basically gave up and just let anyone through. For the actual tickets on mobile, I needed to ask my friend who works at the IT Desk on campus. He said he had a few students during the week ask him for help. It still took us multiple tries to get it right.

Anonymous, Senior

As it always had: an unorganized mob of drunk people attempting to sneak past ticket-checkers slowing everything down.

Thomas Novak, Senior

The app didn’t even work. In the end, I just showed the attendant my ID, and he said “Fuck it. Just go in. I don’t care.”

Joe, Senior

Shit. For the past however long, if you had tickets and were going to a football game you could just roll out of bed, swipe your ID at Gate A, and proceed to live it up in Beaver Stadium.

Then along came a “new and improved” system! I imagine the decision-making process went something like this: A bunch of *very* important people got together and decided that using your ID card (which every single Penn State student just so happens to own) for entry to football games makes too much sense. This disgustingly-logical method of entry, they thought, was too easy on the students, who needed to be reminded that nothing in life is allowed to be easy. To remedy this situation, many ideas were suggested, but one idea stood above the rest: to create a smartphone entry system! It was perfect. An entry system reliant on cell service or WiFi to be used in the one area on campus where there is neither. Plus, the students might have their battery die before entry. Not to mention phone problems like having no storage for apps, having a phone break before a game, or simple technical difficulties. The good ideas kept rolling in. They could make iPhone and Android users use completely different software and apps for ticketing! To top it all off they could make the students individually download their tickets before each game, that way people may forget and be unable to get in. The icing on the cake was that not everyone has a smartphone, for monetary or personal reasons. Adding insult to injury, the student IDs, the very same ones used for tickets before, were still required in addition to the phones for entry. With the ticketing problem solved, the group moved on to discuss other equally important topics, like how to prevent students from using hammocks on campus.

Yes, you would have no problem getting into the game if you were responsible and had an up-to-date phone, downloaded your ticket the day before, made sure your phone was charged and brought your ID along as well. But why make us jump through the extra hoops to support our team? Anyway, Penn State is still the greatest school to exist, even if in another 10 years I have to provide my phone, ID, birth certificate, social security card, a resume with references and a lock of my hair for DNA analysis to be allowed entry into the games.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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